HomeNewsAnalysisCounter-Arms Trafficking Measures Yield Mixed Results
ANALYSIS

Counter-Arms Trafficking Measures Yield Mixed Results

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 1 NOV 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Lack of inter-agency cooperation is hindering efforts to stem arms trafficking at the U.S-Mexico border, says a 2009 draft report issued by the Justice Department.NBC sums up the report's findings regarding the effectiveness of Project Gunrunner, a U.S. task force formed in 2005 that tracks gun smuggling into Mexico. The task force just received $37 million from Congress, and the ATF announced Tuesday that seven new Project Gunrunner teams will be dispatched in key cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Dallas and Sierra Vista, Arizona, reportedly an important hub for the Sinaloa Cartel. However, the Justice Department's draft report finds there are "significant weaknesses" in Project Gunrunner, notably, the "ATF does not systematically exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies." 

This is preoccupying: especially considering that the same groups involved in smuggling arms is probably also involved in drugs and human trafficking, more collaboration between agencies like the ATF, the DEA, Homeland Security, and Mexican offices could only be more helpful than harmful. It looks as though the task force has been relatively effective since its creation: since 2005 Project Gunrunner has seized 6,668 firearms and referred 497 cases to the Justice Department.

But there are other challenges besides the lack of shared intelligence. Not only are offices understaffed in the Southwest U.S. and in Mexico, NBC reports, but weak gun laws have made it difficult for courts to successfully prosecute some arms-trafficking cases. Currently there is no federal law that would notify authorities if large amounts of AK-47s and other semi-automatics are purchased in a short period of time. Existing laws also need to be better enforced, so that rogue gun stores can more easily lose their license. Other solutions appear more short-term. As NBC notes, the White House has not yet nominated a director at the ATF, for fear of riling up the U.S. gun lobby.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

METHAMPHETAMINE / 13 OCT 2016

Mexican authorities have warned of an increase in seizures of drug labs in Sinaloa state, a sign that criminal organizations…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 26 MAY 2015

A gruesome battle between two relatively unknown drug gangs over a municipality in Guerrero, Mexico has led to mysterious disappearances,…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 18 JUL 2011

A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official has said that Mexican drug gang the Zetas buys weapons in Dallas and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…